Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Reid feeds Benson to end the Tension

It was another poor yawning night of football at the Valley but this time it was the right result to lift the gloom.
Parks made the moves that a number of us had been suggesting: Fortune in, Fry at left back and Jackson to midfield.
In general, there were positive results, though Jackson will need more time to fit into a midfield role.
Once again we created in an inadequate number of chances though Sam the man nearly got onto a good through ball (thwarted by his lack of goalscoring panache) but almost amended with a tremendous shot that was too close to the keeper.
Once again, unless he really is seriously nursing an injury, Parks left it almost too late to replace the ineffectual Wagstaff with Reid. I am one of the believers that feel Reid needs more than about 15-20 minutes to make his mark. Whenever he comes on he gives us the width, ability to beat a man and, more importantly, the ability to get a good cross in. We were woeful in that respect with only Jackson provbidiong some good crosses while Martin, Francis and Wagsatff showed their defficiences to some embarassment.
I had said prevoiously that Besnon had every right to complain the Parks about the lack of opportunity he was being given by the pauslack of decent balls to test his scoring instincts out.
Again, he ran and ran to little avail; and paucity of decent passes, until Reid fashioned a great low cross which he cheerfully put away to open his account.
Could this be the turning point?. If we could scaramble a draw or more at Brentford the Brighton game is now nicely set up.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

One more like this and it's looking bleak!

After a good start with a crashing shot from Martin against the bar following a good run, we proceeded to tear D & R apart only to miss around 4 good chances. Benson was not at fault on any of these, and it looked promising as were playing the ball from the back and for once making chances; however it has to be said that D & R looked poor. Liera scored easily from a corner against a suspect looking defence and it looked promising. But once again, we failed miserably to capitalise on our superiority only to then give away a dodgy penalty just before half time.
The second half disintegrated into desperation with long ball stuff and some nervous defending from Liera. Much as I admire his enthusiasm and commitment, if he misses or loses a tackle against a reasonably fast forward he is done for as he has no turn of speed. This happened a couple of times and we were lucky to get away with it.
Reid came on after the ineffectual Wagstaffe was substituted belatedly. I'm afraid he was anonymous again but in mitigation he is a right footed player on the left wing (we have done that a few times over recent years) so was never able to go around the full back apart form cutting inside (which is far too predictable). He also decided to cut in right and fire a shot that was saved when a more spontaneous left footed shot would prob. have had their keeper in trouble. Reid eventually went off limping; has he been carrying an injury for some time? If not I cannot see why he is brought on so late as he generally causes opposition defences trouble once he comes on.
At the end of a poor second half devoid of any quality football, Parks gambled on bringing Fry at left back to release Jackson to move up after Reid went off injured. It paid off with a neat headed Jackson goal into extra time.
Just prior to that we were adopting our usual desperate hanging on game and resorting to long balls for the two front runners to chase; and, as usual, making a weak opposition look good.
Their play down the right had been threatening throughout the second half and our reserve keeper saved our bacon on a couple of times though he made you lose a heart beat every time they punted one over in the air.
The substitution then backfired badly when Fry, playing at left back, was turned inside out and the resultant cross enabled a last minute equaliser.
We have just about kept touch, but if our season is to be decided by form and results in this and the next MK Dons home game then without a convincing 3 points against the Dons it is looking bleak.
(One trailing thought, I watched the last 25 minutes of the Man City V Chelsea game on the screen behind the East Stand. Much of the play was sideways or backwards and if I were served up this every week as top quality "Premiership" stuff I would seriously question the ludicrous admission prices: the Germans as usual are showing us the way on this).

Thursday, 23 September 2010

RIP - Bobby Smith : Spurs & England

I read with interest and admiration the articles praising Bobby Smith after his sad death yesterday.
I watched Bobby on TV during his Spurs and England days but he was in the Spurs team in the away FA Cup game January 961 when we lost 3-2 (I remember it as a thrilling game with my hero Sam Lawrie keeping us in the game just after half time). Unusually, he did not score against us.
His record spoke for itself; 208 goals in 317 games.
Like Puskas, he appeared to be a portly figure, but that was deceptive as he was solid (prob. from his days down the pit) and had a genuine turn of speed. As my knowledge of his play is confined primarily to the TV, I will leave Spurs fans to dissect his career, performances and skills.
He epitomised the old fashioned bustling centre forward: one who knew where the back of the net was (like our own Eddie Firmani, Stuart Leary and Derek ‘Killer’ Hales) the former two of who were around at the same time.
Bobby was the son of a miner and I suspect (but don’t know) he prob. liked a pint, like ‘Killer’ (as it’s rumoured!). Like ‘Killer’ (and perhaps less like Eddie and Stuart), he took little nonsense from defenders and made them pay for any indiscretions. As the Daily Telegraph reports: “Smith recalled a conversation he had had with Spurs manager Bill Nicholson prior to Spurs' 5-1 win in the 1963 European Cup Winners Final against Atletico Madrid: "Bill Nick told me that their centre-half would come up and hit me hard the first time. And he did. The second time he tried it, I elbowed him in the gut. The ref came up to me and said 'Well done!'"
Those were the days: when referees invigilated more in the mould of a rugby official, letting the game proceed without incessant interruptions and treating players as grown men rather than the over protected, overpaid prima donnas of today’s game with their coloured plastic boots.
Thanks Bobby for gracing our game and providing so much entertainment.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Lest We Forget

Lennie Lawrence will be a welcome visitor next week on the anniversary of that 'Last Game' at the Valley. Here are a few pics I took on that day inc. one of the "4 Unjust Men" as I called them on the day (for those who can remember the TV programme bearing a similar name), a Nicky Johns goal kick and the famous East Terrace with its 30,000 plus capacity.
In retrospect, they prob. saved the club and enabled it with the efforts of Roger Alwen, the other directors, the Valley Party and others to ultimately return to the Valley and enable Richard Murray and the board to embark upon the stadium development that has given us a stadium to be proud of.
I was talking to an Arsenal supporter yesterday (I'm not proud) who had only been to the Valley years ago once but marvelled at the old East Terrace recalling that the ground was the only real natural ampitheatre in the league and was the biggest in the football league (with a 75,031 ground record, plus those who broke in for free on the day, and an even bigger capacity for the '70's 'Who' concert).
A lot of water (much undrinkable) has passed under the bridge since then but (like 'Chicago Addick' facing the current hurricane in the Atlantic) us South Londoners are made of stern stuff and certainly masochistic!
We have not returned to the heights of recent years and still await that 40,000 capacity ground which could result from that success but we will hang on in there and cross our fingers that things progress both on and off the pitch.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Apprentice Steps In

Darren took this call but unfortunately it was not from CAFC to extend his contract.

If rumours are to be believed his exit to Motherwell was primarily because he wanted a 2 year contract that the club were unwilling to come up with. Perhaps, wages came into it but I have not picked up anything on that, but who knows.

He performed magnificently in the run-in to the play-offs and it seemed that some reward may have come his way but that was not to be.

We have signed Luke Daniels who looks a good prospect with previous England Under 19 caps. However, he has no first team experience other than Tranmere and Shrewsbury when he was 20 and 21 years. So it's a tall order to now step into the fray in our vitial promotion push.

However, we all wish him well and like others before him perhaps this loan will offer him a breakthrough in his fortunes. I notice that he was unlucky enough to have had one loan spell cancelled in the past following a back injury: so let's hope he keeps clear of the Charlton goalkeeper injury jinx during his stay with us.

Coincidently, he had a brief loan spell at Motherwell before Darren Randolph joined them.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

No PR is Bad PR

As ACD reported the comedy "Albert Memorial" on the box last night culminated in David Jason burying their old war mate in Germany with a CAFC flag draped over the coffin.
He also made an earlier ref to CAFC in the programme.
I recall that Jason also made a ref to CAFC in his "Trotter" days in "Only Fools and Horses". Trotter was based in Peckham, more adjacent to the dreaded 'New Den' foes, so to mention CAFC was indeed generous.
Not sure whether Jason has any affiliation to the club but we are grateful for the mention.
I passed on details of this BLOG to one of my contacts who after looking at it sent me an email which included the following.
" I know someone else who is a Charlton fan - he told me that when they were in the premiership they were really good value as you got to see all the big names from Chelsea, Man U, Arsenal etc at far less than anywhere else but that otherwise it is a bit of a rollercoaster ride! Looking at your blog I think it is aimed very much at those in the "know". I have no idea what CAFCPICKS means and have to admit that that initially I thought it might be about Chelsea until I saw a reference to Charlton but I'm not a football fan".
Quite a reasonable resume?!!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

3 Points To Savour (even though)

There are some good summaries courtesy of "Forever Charlton"; here's some additional thoughts, apart from the fact that we got 3 points by the skin of our teeth and prob. undeservedly.
I don't totally agree with others about Matt Fry. I thought he looked unconvincing in the air and found the power of Hughes a real handful (though most others prob. would have as well).
Liera must be feeling pretty fed up; yes he paid the price for his error at Exeter, but he was a hero at Orient and prob. would have dealt with Hughes better in my view who missed two sitters (even if one was marginally off-side) as well as the penalty and was a constant thorn in the side. Fortune got a good reception and was a candidate for inclusion, assuming he is fully fit.
The bad news was that the midfield was equally as dire creatively as it has been in other games. Much has been made of McCormack and Samedo being too similar, but the other options that remain are none too convincing creatively.
Racon added something but was nowhere near his form of old. Maybe Jackson (if/when Youga returns) and perhaps Fry might spice things up.
Martin looked classy but, like Reid, also has to deliver more and shut up mouthing the referee as he already has too many unnecessary yellow cards.
Benson toiled away and had some good touches in the air. He looked fully match fit and no more tired than Abbot who should have been the one replaced by Sodje. Taking him off looked to be a potential demotivator to me.
One major grouse: why cannot referees demonstrate something near consistency.
Every free kick within range of the goal should be paced out for 10 yards. He refreshingly did this for one free kick then when it mattered most, when we had a free kick on the edge of the area, totally chickened out. Had he pushed their line back to inside the goal area where they should have been a goal may have been on the cards, if we could have kept the ball it below the bar!! Subsequently, he reverted to pacing out the yards again: why not every time!!!
Benson had every right to remonstrate to Park's after the game on the lines of :
"You told me when you signed me that someone would pass to me and maybe even offer me the odd opportunity to score"

Friday, 10 September 2010

Good Cover & Encouraging Injury News

Really bad luck for Dailly, and a tragedy for the first team, to lose him for up to 4 weeks. He seems the kind of guy (like 'sweaty' Stuart Balmer) who would soldier on in pain and blood given the option. However, the nature of the injury makes those less inclined to wince at the mere thought.
For once, the club seem to have a good level of cover over the next few games.
Doherty is proving more reliable than I anticipated, Liera is forever willing and solid in the air (but has always been prone to serious errors);' the same can be said of Fortune (though he made mistakes less frequently and is generally solid); let's hope he really can get fit.
I have always praised Mambo's potential and maybe he may yet get a real short term opportunity.
With Fry potentially able to fill in, a major disaster seems to have been averted. Well done Parks for some good work behind the scenes.
The above looks rosey, I just hope tomorrow vindicates this view!
The most encouraging news relates to Youga. He now at last seems to be now genuinely on the mend (if we are to believe current reports). I've expressed many times my previous fears about the prospect of a career threatening injury and it would be great if he is on the road to a full recovery. His attacking flair contributed more than most.
A return for Youga at left back could threaten Jackson's position but maybe Jackson could provide the missing creative link we need in midfield?